Budget-Friendly Meal: Old-Fashioned Cabbage Soup
Flavor, comfort, and nutrition come together in one, glorious bowl with Cabbage Soup. Filled with a rainbow of vegetables, warm and smoky flavors, and white beans for protein, this old fashioned cabbage soup recipe is wholesome and easy to make.
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Cabbage soup might not sound too appealing, unless you already know and love grandma’s cabbage soup.
You may only think of cabbage as a dish for St. Patrick’s Day, or for use in a slaw or on tacos.
You will be all aboard with all the cabbage after making this simple, filling, and belly-warming soup!
Cabbage is healthy, flavorful, and versatile:
- For another flavorful cabbage soup, there is Cabbage Roll Soup, a healthy soup inspired by cabbage rolls and made with beef.
- Slow Cooker Sausage, Cabbage and Potatoes is also an outstanding cabbage soup, and a dish not reserved for only the Irish.
- Cabbage Steaks are a love song to cabbage that you’ll want stuck in your head, and Sautéed Cabbage is a surprisingly scrumptious, caramelized side.
A Budget-Friendly, Delicious Soup
This is a healthy and hearty vegetarian soup, with many complex flavors.
- Carrots and onions are slowly sautéed, then flavored with smoked paprika, cumin, nutmeg, and garlic. Taste buds be like, WOW.
- Broth, fire roasted tomatoes, rosemary, and bay leaf are added for even MORE flavor.
- The cabbage wilts down and is not overpowering, and honey and apple cider vinegar bring it all together.
Cabbage soup is not boring, folks!
This is a soup made from humble ingredients that is so much more than the sum of its part.
How to Make Cabbage Soup
This original cabbage soup recipe is easy and made all in one pot.
It’s packed with fiber and protein to keep you full and will stretch your dollar.
- Carrots and Onion. Sauté to build the backbone of the soup and add a little sweetness.
Add Your Favorite Veggies
You can add additional veggies to your cabbage soup, such as celery, chopped cauliflower, or spinach. Harder vegetables would be sautéed along with the carrot and onion, and a softer vegetable such as leafy greens would be stirred in at the end until wilted.
- Smoked Paprika. There is a distinct flavor difference between paprika and smoked paprika. Poke around in the more gourmet area of the spice aisle and add this to your cabinet!
- Cumin and Nutmeg. These warm spices create a warm, inviting flavor and marry with the smoked paprika.
- Garlic. More aromatics.
- Vegetable Broth. Keeps the cabbage soup vegetarian (you can substitute chicken broth if that’s not a concern). Opt for low sodium.
- Fire Roasted Tomatoes. Look for fire roasted tomatoes over plain diced tomatoes. This is another ingredient that ups the ante on the flavor game.
- White Beans. Such as cannellini or Great Northern. These add a nice, creamy texture to the dish along with protein.
- Cabbage. This old fashioned cabbage soup recipe uses an entire head of cabbage! Cabbage is full of vitamin C, can help with digestion, and inflammation. Further, it can last in your refrigerator for weeks, so stock up when it’s on sale.
What Type of Cabbage is Best for Cabbage Soup?
At the grocery store, you will most often see red (or purple) cabbage and green cabbage.
- Use green cabbage for cabbage soup. It becomes a bit sweet once cooked. Choose heads that are tightly bound, and discard any exterior leaves that are wilted. Regular green cabbage or savoy cabbage both work well.
- Purple cabbage has a stiffer texture and is a bit more peppery flavor. It is great for slaws like Winter Slaw, topping tacos like Jerk Chicken Tacos, and mixing in salad like Ramen Salad. You can use it in soup, but it will need to simmer longer. Also, be aware that it will turn the soup red.
- Herbs. Bay leaf and thyme add a fitting earthiness, with fresh parsley sprinkled on top when serving.
- Apple Cider Vinegar. Adds acidity to balance the cabbage and prevent it from tasting bitter.
- Honey. A touch of sweetness rounds out all the flavors.
Cabbage soup is vegetarian and gluten free. To make vegan, omit the honey or use agave or sugar.
- Cook carrots and onion with salt and pepper in a large pot.
- Add spices and cook until fragrant.
- Add remaining ingredients. Stir together and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat, and let the cabbage soup simmer, covered, until the cabbage is very tender, about 25 minutes. Discard the bay leaf. Serve hot with a garnish of fresh parsley. ENJOY!
- To Store. Refrigerate cabbage soup in an airtight storage container for up to 3 days.
- To Reheat. Rewarm leftovers in a Dutch oven on the stovetop over medium-low heat. You may also microwave if desired.
- To Freeze. You can freeze cabbage soup in an airtight, freezer-safe storage container for up to 3 months. Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.
Meal Prep Tip
Chop all the vegetables up to 1 day in advance, and store them in the refrigerator.
Recommended Tools to Make Cabbage Soup
- Dutch Oven. This beautiful pot will last a lifetime, goes from stove to oven, and is easy to clean.
- Ladle. Perfect for serving up all your soups and stews.
- Large Cutting Board. A sufficiently large and non-slip cutting board is so helpful for prepping all your vegetables.
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Let me know what you thought!
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Cabbage is so much more than merely a taco topping or picnic slaw.
Give cabbage a new life and prime spot at the dinner table with this easy cabbage soup recipe!
Frequently Asked Questions
You can make beef and cabbage soup by adding ground beef into the pot after the vegetables sautéed. Break up and brown the hamburger meat and brown until cooked through, then proceed with the rest of the recipe. You could also use ground turkey or Italian sausage.
You may have heard of the “cabbage soup diet” and cabbage soup described as the “wonder soup.” While I do not prescribe to one particular diet, and any of your dietary questions should be directed to your health professional, I can say that YES this cabbage soup is healthy! It is chock-full of vegetables, low in saturated fat and polyunsaturated fat, and includes protein and fiber to keep you full and away from some potential unhealthy snacking.
This cabbage soup recipe is prepared on the stove top. It could be adapted but I have not tested it (yet!) specifically. For inspiration, check out my Crockpot Vegetable Beef Soup.
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 4 medium carrots peeled and small diced
- 1 medium yellow onion diced
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 3 cloves garlic minced (about 1 tablespoon)
- 4 cups vegetable broth divided
- 1 14.5-ounce can fire roasted diced tomatoes in their juices
- 1 15.5-ounce can white beans, rinsed and drained such as cannellini or Great Northern
- 1 very small or 1/2 large green cabbage about 1 pound, chopped
- 1 bay leaf
- 1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- 1 tablespoon honey
- fresh parsley for serving
In a Dutch oven or similar large, deep pot, heat the oil over medium. Add the carrots, onion, salt, and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions soften, turn translucent, and take on some color, about 7 to 9 minutes.
Add the smoked paprika, cumin, nutmeg, and garlic. Cook, stirring constantly, until very fragrant, about 30 seconds.
Add enough of the broth to cover the bottom of the pot. With a wooden spoon, scrape along the bottom to remove any stuck on bits. Add the remaining broth, diced tomatoes, beans, cabbage, bay leaf, rosemary, vinegar, and honey. Stir everything together, then bring to a boil.
- Reduce the heat, cover the pot, and let simmer until the cabbage is very tender, about 25 minutes. Discard the bay leaf. Taste and adjust the seasoning as desired. Serve hot with a sprinkle of fresh parsley.
- TO STORE: Refrigerate cabbage soup in an airtight storage container for up to 3 days.
- TO REHEAT: Rewarm leftovers in a Dutch oven on the stovetop over medium-low heat. You may also microwave if desired.
- TO FREEZE: You can freeze cabbage soup. Freeze leftovers in an airtight, freezer-safe storage container for up to 3 months. Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.